I know you all want to hear the details of my journey across the Grand Canyon and back. I am still processing so much of it. It was transformational and broke me open in a way I didn't expect. What a gift to have an experience that opens my heart up to the truth of this life even more.
I will tell you this. It was hard. One of the hardest things I have ever done.
It was like walking down the road of loss of a loved one. Or walking the path of conquering an addiction. Stepping way out of comfort into change. When I stood on the edge and looked across, I knew I had to go but I knew from step one that it would be difficult. I knew there would be times I would want to quit. I knew I would break down and cry. I knew I would doubt myself and my ability to keep going.
But I also knew I had to do it.
When we lose a loved one, we know we have to go through the grief, yet we can put it off and hold it down for years like I did. When we are addicted, we know we have to do the work to get clean, yet we put it off and make excuses and wait for the magical "as soon as" to happen so it will be easier. When we are stuck, we look around and find all the reasons outside of ourselves that explain why we can't move forward.
But those are lies.
Putting off grief doesn't make it any less painful.
Putting off recovery doesn't make getting clean any easier.
Staying in our comfort zone doesn't make us at all comfortable.
The way to move forward is to step out.
When I did take that first step, just that very first one, I knew I had done something important in my life. I just didn't yet know what. I wouldn't know that until 12 hours into the hike as I was climbing the steep north rim when it became evident that I made two big mistakes. One, I failed to climb at my pace. Two, I didn't eat enough. At that point in the hike, as it was getting dark, my body said "no more". My mind said "no more". And I stopped.
Well, stopping isn't an option or you die. But I couldn't move forward on my own.
I was with three friends. Two went on to the top while one came back for me and he talked me through every step. He said, "I know how you feel, I've been there." He walked very slowly with me; my ten steps then waited as I bent over, hands on knees, trying to catch my breath. He tried to carry my backpack for me, I wouldn't let him. He got me to eat a nutrition block. And he said, "You are going to finish."
Here's what I learned. My head was screaming, "Let him go finish his hike at his pace, you are ruining his experience!!! Tell him, 'don't worry about me'." (I don't matter, I don't matter.) But I couldn't. I could not finish alone.
And I do matter. I will not die in this canyon. I will accept help (without the self condemnation and judgment that we bring) and I will take my ten steps, stop and breathe, take ten more steps, stop and breathe, and I will make it to the end.
And so will you.